The Design of Microsoft® Support Network 1.0
1. What factors suggest that Microsoft's PSS Division needs a more comprehensive and flexible approach for its service offerings? Admittedly, Microsoft's support services were not as good as those offered by some competitors. Several factors contributed to the nondescript nature of Microsoft services. Previous support service policy had been determined at the product level. Annually, each product manager negotiated with PSS over the type, extent, and pricing of services to be offered to customers along with their products. Because Microsoft had 150 products, the result was a hodgepodge of service offerings. Some products had no support services, some offered unlimited "free" service that was accessed by phone via a "toll" number, and still others provided extensive telephone service "for fee". For customers, particularly those that owned and used several Microsoft products, the service offerings were confusing because it was difficult to know which service came with which product. Moreover, expert users felt that they were paying for services they didn't need on basic applications. At the same time, they could not get sophisticated support services on some of Microsoft's newly introduced line of highly technical advanced systems, even if they were willing to pay extra. 2. Based upon the guidelines that senior management has provided to Trish May, what product support strategy has Microsoft envisioned? Before the PSS task force started its work in December 1992, Patty Stonesifer, Trish May, and key team members, along with the input of Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, and Mike Maples, devised a set of goals that were to guide efforts and serve as the basis for all technical support programs. These included:
•Microsoft technical support services should reinforce and enhance the high quality of Microsoft products.
Bill Gates insisted on this goal. He maintained...